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My FCS Top 25, 11/7/2011

Below the flip, see my Top 25 for this week.

1: North Dakota State Bison
2: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
3: Montana State Bobcats
4: Montana Grizzlies
5: Wofford Terriers
6: New Hampshire Wildcats
7: Sam Houston State Bearkats
8: Northern Iowa Panthers
9: Georgia Southern Eagles
10: Appalachian State Mountaineers
11: Harvard Crimson
12: Towson Tigers
13: Maine Black Bears
14: Old Dominion Monarchs
15: Liberty Flames
16: Brown Bears
17: Central Arkansas Bears
18: Furman Paladins
19: Norfolk State Spartans
20: Eastern Kentucky Colonels
21: Stony Brook Seawolves
22: Georgetown Hoyas
23: Duquesne Dukes
24: James Madison Dukes
25: Illinois State Redbirds

Three quick hits about my Top 25:

* For the first time in weeks, I have an OVC team, Eastern Kentucky, in my Top 25.  Aside from Lehigh's win (of course), their incredible win over Jacksonville State is the game that made the biggest impression on me this week - showing exactly what the Colonels are made of.  After a win like that, I would not want to see any part of them, and that's a good a reason as any as to why they're Top 20 worthy.

*  At what point do you drop off the four-loss teams off your Top 25 in place of teams that could actually play in the postseason?  My answer is: early, and often.  I leaped off the Delaware, William & Mary and Richmond bandwagons very early, while 8-2 Georgetown and 7-2 Duquesne are up on my list, despite realtively weaker schedules (putting it mildly), are on there because both teams could actually be playing on Thanksgiving.

I'll be bringing more to you about Georgetown later in the week, but Duquesne has an excellent shot at being the NEC's representative in the playoffs.  Their destiny is not in their own hands, but if they can beat Sacred Heart and Robert Morris and Albany loses one of two tough games against Monmouth or Sacred Heart, they'll be playing on Thanksgiving, probably on the road.

* How good is Harvard?  When it comes to Ivy League teams, it's always a challenge to gauge how good they are in comparison to the rest of FCS, because they only play a very limited number of out-of-conference games against non-Patriot, non-NEC or non-Pioneer League teams.  But despite a season-opening loss to Holy Cross, technically they have been one of the hottest teams in FCS, winning seven games in a row by double digits and beating their closest competition, 7-1 Brown, by a 24-7 score.

We'll never know the answer to this question, but could they beat Lehigh?  Maine?  New Hampshire?  Towson?  If the Ivy League participated in the playoffs, it's likely they'd be matched up against one of these four teams, allowing the Crimson to prove themselves regionally, if nothing else.  But since they don't Harvard fans, players, and coaches won't ever know how good they are nationally - and also have no realistic chance to win any national awards.

It's too bad, too, since I think they could have been great in the playoffs this year.

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